Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Inevitable Question

Lily, our youngest, is in first grade this year. All three kids are in school all day, although, because of staggered schedules to accommodate busing, the actual time that there are no children in the house is from 8:20-2:30. This is a rather short day. Nevertheless, it is inevitable for a stay-at-home mom to ask the question, "should I find a job?" at this point. After all, my presence doesn't seem to be as necessary, while everyone is off doing their things. Except when someone is ill, or forgets something at home....I am always "on call," but the job of being home has changed.

So we have asked that inevitable question. A few times. And I wonder if I shouldn't be contributing more financially. But I've done some work with the numbers.... Let's say I got a job working 20 hours a week, at $10 an hour. Maybe I wouldn't work that many hours, maybe I wouldn't make that much money. But for arguments sake, let's just say I could find something that would work out to bringing home about $560 a month. (I'm figuring taxes would eat up $3 of every $10....) Bear with me, I'm not a mathy gal. What would it cost us to have me work part-time?

Gas: $8 a week=$32 a month
(assuming I work somewhere that is 5 miles from home, I work 4 days of the week, and gas is a little less than $4 a gallon, 20 miles/gallon)
Lunches Out: $7.25 a week=$30 a month
(assuming I only purchase a lunch for myself once a week, which I think is very conservative. I would try to bring a lunch more often than not, but if I was working, there would be more social opportunities, and days I just don't have anything to pack for myself)
Starbucks: $8 a week=$32 a month
(again, this is very conservative to think I would only treat myself to a cappucino twice a week. After all, I would be contributing more to the family financially, and would feel justified in a goody every so often. And here's the deal, when I'm out, I am more likely to indulge. I find that walking out the door and getting into the car costs money. It just flies right out of my hands! If I was working, I'd be out every day.)
Groceries: $50 savings every other week=$100 a month
(huh? Well, you see, currently, I go to a grocery store that is 25 minutes away every two weeks because the prices are crazy low. It's a big trip, taking most of the day to plan what to get, go there, get it, bring it home, put it away....We have studied our receipts and figure that we save at least $50 everytime I shop there rather than the local big name store. I use coupons and plan meals which also saves us oodles. If I was working, this just wouldn't happen. It might sometimes, but let's be realistic. This would no longer be a priority, besides, I'd be making a little extra money, so we could afford to get gouged on occasion.)
Dinners Out: $30 every other week=$60 a month
(assuming we just went out for dinner, feeding 5 for $30, so nothing too fancy, just eating out, or carrying in because a meal wasn't planned for a particular night. I think this would happen at least two times in a month, maybe more, because we/I would justify it by thinking, "I'm making a little money..." blah, blah, blah....)

So far, it would cost $254 to bring home $560. It's not sounding as good. And I haven't considered clothes that I would need to buy, or maybe the cleaning service I might hire to come in and help--to treat myself--or any wear and tear on the car. I haven't even gotten to what would happen in the summer. Would we pay for extra park district programs and things like that to occupy the kids? And what else am I not thinking of?

I think the job I have here is still important, even though I'm alone much more than I used to be. In order for me to take the leap into the working world, it would have to be something that really fills me up, and fits into the whole family's schedule. I haven't found that yet. So, the answer to the inevitable question for me right now, is, "No."


Alan and Judy said...

In this case, your tendency to be very analytical has just paid off big-time. It is just a human tendency to think we should be "doing more" or "contributing something" and getting our eyes off the real task at hand. Also, this Christ-following life is not about what we are doing, but about what He did!

However, Dad says he remembers when he first got a dollar an hour working for farmers, putting up hay (extremely hard work) and other dirty, sweaty jobs, and thought it was absolutely great.


Alan and Judy said...

PS, I love how you are aware that when we think we are "doing" more, we also justify rewarding ourselves more. I know I do that a lot!